Woman stretching at home with laptop
Woman stretching at home with laptop


April 7, 2020

By Christina Butcher, Healthy Living Director, YMCA of Long Island

The Y was built on face-to-face relationships with the members of our community.  Many refer to us as a "community center".  Community and center being key words in our DNA.  We have become so accustomed to seeing our members in and out of our buildings day after day, for weeks, months, years, even decades.  

As we are faced with this unprecedented global crisis, Coronavirus or COVID-19, we are stopped dead in our tracks.  

Our favorite morning class.  A cup of coffee in the lobby with our fellow exercise buddies. Finally trying out that personal training session with the familiar, expert face in the fitness center. Swimming laps in the pool on a gloomy day. And the list goes on.  For many of us, our daily routines have been disrupted.  Perhaps we have taken for granted the freedom to exercise and interact with each other in such a way.  

This isn't the time to tell ourselves, "this will all be over soon and then I will start to workout again".  

The time to stay on track is now.  It's difficult to stay motivated when you are home and your routine is different.  Maybe you're an essential worker during this crisis and you're simply exhausted and working around the clock.

Your health is the most important thing right now.  People need you; your family, your friends, your colleagues.  So, taking a little time for yourself to stay healthy and keep your immune system strong is vital.

One of the biggest benefits of working out at home is convenience.

With a little prep work and a routine, staying motivated isn't as hard as you might think. The tips below will help your fitness goals stay on track, whether you work out at home once a week or every day.

1. Design Your Workout Space

Make sure you have a designated area for exercising.

This can be as elaborate as a home gym or as simple as the corner of your living room where you keep a yoga mat and free weights. Having a dedicated space with all your workout necessities and/or equipment will save you time and keep you from getting distracted by searching through the house and every nook and cranny to find what you're looking for.  Don't worry, you may not be doing a lot of entertaining now anyway.

2. Jot Down Your Goals

One of the primary ways to keep up your motivation is to stay conscious of why you’re making exercise a priority. Write down your fitness goals; whether it’s to train for an upcoming race, boost your energy, lose weight, or increase overall health. Put your goals on paper and post them in a place where you'll see them each morning.

3. Create a Plan

Decide what workouts will best help you meet your goal.

Usually a variety of exercises such as strength training, cardio and stretching works best, but everyone's body responds different to exercise. Decide which days of the week, how long and what time of day you’ll work out, and schedule your at-home workouts just as you would at the Y. Schedule your workouts in your mobile device calendar or write down your workout schedule to help keep you accountable. Whatever method you decide, just make sure you will see it every day.

When it's time for your workout, dedicate yourself for the full amount of time you’ve set aside. Have a water bottle, a towel and music to help you power through your workout. You can even create a workout playlist with your favorite tunes, adding at least enough songs to get you through your entire workout.

The Y has hundreds of free workout videos online to choose from, for beginners to advanced, many of your favorite classes from LesMills On Demand and Y360, and even kid-friendly workouts you can do with your little ones.

4. Track Your Progress & Keep A Journal

Keeping track of your progress is a great way to stay focused.

When you work out with others at the Y, you may push yourself to keep up with others around you, but at home, it can be tough to only compete with yourself. That’s where a journal helps. It shows you how far you’ve come and lets you see where you can challenge yourself. Did you do more reps this week than last? Can you run an extra mile this week?

There are also many free tracking apps out there and the YMCA of Long Island's mobile app, available in the App Store or Google Play, allows you to track your progress easily.  You can set fitness goals and log your workouts. Some things to consider including are the details of your workout, such as reps and time or distance. Separately, keep notes about how you felt during each workout and perhaps the food you ate that day to fuel your energy level.

You might also want to keep motivational sayings or pictures in your journal. You can search the internet for inspirational quotes and photos that motivate you. 

5. Stay Connected 

It helps to share your successes with others or to reach out for support. Doing this can motivate you more to up your game and get the support you need from those around you.  Talk to a friend on the phone, download our app where you can ask questions to the Y fitness community, share your email with us by subscribing to our newsletter (a popup shows up on our website), or email us with any questions you have at health@ymcali.org.  

I hope you enjoy your workouts at home and we can't wait to welcome you back to the Y soon!